Today, Anna Chaboyer is happily married and raising her four children in a blended family in Winkler, but five years ago she was sitting in a Headingley prison cell addicted to meth.
Be sure to scroll down to the bottom and watch the full interview!
It was 2019 when Anna found herself in that prison cell. What had started as a "little bit of partying" and experimenting with hard drugs like cocaine took a serious turn for the worse the moment she was introduced to meth at the age of 30.
"It just spiralled down fast," she says about getting introduced to meth, "... I got addicted right away."
That addiction led to her being involved in crime to feed the habit, which eventually led to her being incarcerated at the Women's Correctional Centre in Headingley.
From an excuse to get out of a prison cell to meeting Jesus through a song
The chance came for her to attend a Bible study group run by women who volunteered their time to come and minister to the inmates. Anna is quick to admit that worshiping Jesus wasn't at the top of her list when she decided to go to the meetings.
"I said, 'Well, I might just attend because anything just to get out of my jail cell.' And that's when I [started] meeting those ladies." She didn't grow up in a religious household, and she didn't understand everything the ladies were talking about. "I thought they were a little bit different and using words I didn't understand, like, 'The Lord spoke to me.'"
That's the phrase that one of those ladies used before playing a Lauren Daigle song at one of those meetings. That song forever changed Anna's life and started her on a journey that not only saw her break free from her addictions but turn to Jesus.
"God can use you and you don't even know. You don't even know by the words that you say, the actions that you do, the smile, the littlest thing, that God is going to use somehow in someone else's life."
"One of the evenings, one of the ladies said that, 'The Lord spoke to [her] on the way to prison, and this next song that she will be praying is for one specific lady in this room.' They put the song on and I completely broke down in tears, ugly crying, the whole nine yards."
The song was Lauren Daigle's, 'How Can It Be.' The woman who played the song was "Connie." That's all she knew about the volunteer who felt the Holy Spirit's prompting to share that song with the women and was obedient to it.
For Anna, that song suddenly made clear to her that no matter what she had done in the past that led her to lose custody of her kids and sit in prison, the grace and love of Jesus were for her to accept as well.
Who and where was Connie?
Fast forward five years, Anna has been out of prison, got married, and has had her relationships with her children restored, along with the addition of a stepson.
She has shared her testimony countless times at churches and with others who are struggling. But one thing has always been missing: finding Connie and thanking her.
Two weeks ago Anna's husband, Steve, reached out to me (CHVN's Mike Thom), asking for help in finding Connie. The way Steve described her it was obvious that this woman played a vital role in helping Anna break free from her past and there was a longing for Anna to say 'thank you' face-to-face. Steve said that every time Anna shares her story she mentions Connie, and while he's tried often over the years to track her down, he'd never been able to find her.
I put up a post on my Facebook profile, hoping that one of the many CHVN family members on my friends list would know who "Connie from prison ministry" was... and it only took a few hours. Four hours and sixteen minutes, to be exact.
When I awoke the next day I saw a comment from a friend who provided the name of the person who he was pretty sure was the right Connie. I texted Steve to let him know that we "might" have found Connie ... and he assured me we had!
By the time I had talked with Steve, they had already seen the comment and contacted Connie. A few days later Connie Bredin and her husband Glenn were in Winkler, sitting in Anna and Steve's living room and reconnecting!
Small acts with big Kingdom results
Connie shares a powerful story of how a small act of obedience, which was following God's prompting to play the song, has come back now five years later to encourage her as she gets to witness the fruit of those seeds planted. She hopes it encourages others, too.
"It's like, wow, God can use you and you don't even know. You don't even know by the words that you say, the actions that you do, the smile, the littlest thing, that God is going to use somehow in someone else's life. I'm so thrilled and humbled that He actually allowed us to meet again and see that, wow, that is something that God did use."
Connie says that she tries her best to remember every day that it's the small and simple ways we interact with people that can let the light of Christ shine into their lives.
"The Bible says, 'Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my God (Psalm 19:14).' And when I think of that, every single day, [I ask] 'What are we doing, what are way saying, how are we acting? Be it somebody on the street, somebody driving in the car, just somebody that you meet, what is that going to do, and how is God going to use that moving forward in somebody else's life."
There is a lot more that was shared over the 20 minutes we talked that will encourage many. Take some time to watch the full interview and share it with others to give them hope today, as well.
Do you have a testimony of God's goodness in your life to share? Email us and tell us about it: firstname.lastname@example.org